This morning the BBC reported Greater Manchester Police has suffered criticism in the latest crime data integrity review by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, highlighting a failure to record 38,000 crimes each year. Other forces such as Sussex have been judged ‘good’ following improvements after the last review, while some like Staffordshire still ‘require improvement’.
It has been over two years since I sat before the Public Administration Select Committee and exposed the systemic failures relating to the recording of crime and, sadly, little true progress has been made.
At the time forces first denied the problem even existed and the HMIC was equally dismissive as to the scale of the problem and the accuracy of my evidence. All of them were proven wrong and continue to be.
While efforts to improve have been made the methods are flawed. Even the new Crime Harm Index developed by the ONS and the Home Office is dangerously constructed, one simple example being the application of a weighting system which itself relies on pliable data (such as sentencing to rate offences by the harm they cause).
The message is that national oversight structures such as the HMIC are broadly useless, still unable to get to grips with decent inspections and, after all I did, large police forces carry on as before. Behind every crime statistic is a victim who has not received the service they deserve.
Should you wish to revisit the inquiry which sparked the national exposure of this issue – and I would recommend the read – the parliamentary report remains available here.
In spite of my treatment for raising these concerns I remain ready to provide a critical and unique eye to any forces and PCCs brave enough to listen to a truth they may not wish to hear.